SPOKANE, Wa. (KIFI/KIDK) - A Spokane, Washington woman was sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to 19 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.
Sandra Victoria Talento, 58, was also ordered to pay $2.1 million in restitution and forfeiture of $2.1 million.
Talento pleaded guilty to the charges in June and appeared before Chief US District Judge Thomas O. Rice in Spokane.
According to court documents, Talento was part of an extensive money laundering, insurance and health care fraud scheme. It involved over 30 staged accidents in Washington, Idaho, California and Nevada that defrauded 19 insurance companies out of $5,659,026 by filing fraudulent bodily injury claims.
Talento played the part of an "injured victim" in at least 13 phony accidents and received treatment for various fictitious injuries. According to court records, Talento deposited over $86,000 in fraud proceeds into her account over a 20-day period in 2013. During a six-month period in 2014, she deposited over $270,000 in fraud proceeds.
United States Attorney Hyslop said, "Sandra Victoria Talento and her cohorts operated a sophisticated insurance/healthcare fraud and money laundering scheme over several years in four different states. Fraud schemes like these ultimately create higher insurance premiums for consumers. The sentence imposed reflects the significant role Talento played in the scheme and the fact that she profited from her fraud at the expense of the insurance and healthcare system. This also sends a strong message to those who may seek to line their pockets through fraud and launder their ill-gotten gains. The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington is committed to prosecuting aggressively those individuals who may engage in such conduct. I commend the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Marshals Service for their outstanding work investigating this case."
IRS Agent Justin Campbell said Talento was personally involved in staged accidents that generated more than $5.5 million in fraudulent insurance proceeds.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington Criminal Healthcare Fraud Investigator, with assistance from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. This case was prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III, and Brian Donovan, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.